Series: Wright State leads 32-31
Coaches: Scott Nagy is 104-47 in his fifth year at Wright State and 514-287 in his 26th year overall. The 44-year-old Luke Yaklich (pronounced YOCK-lich) is in his first season at UIC after serving as associate head coach at Texas. He also was an assistant at Michigan.
Probable Wright State starters
Name Ht. Class Pos. Avg.
Loudon Love 6-8 Sr. C 15.3
Grant Basile 6-9 So. F 14.4
Tanner Holden 6-6 So. G 16.8
Tim Finke 6-6 So G 10.4
Trey Calvin 6-0 So. G 9.8
Probable UIC starters
Michael Diggins 6-8 Sr. F 11.5
Rob Howard 6-8 Sr. F 10.2
Maurice Commander 6-0 Jr. G 10.3
Teyvion Kirk 6-4 Jr. G 14.1
Jamie Ahale 6-5 Sr. G 8.2
About Wright State: Love was already the men’s program leader in rebounds, but he passed women’s No. 1 Symone Simmons for the top spot overall last weekend. He has 1,053, while Simmons had 1,050 from 2015-19. He’s also close to reaching the top five in career points. He has 1,653, and No. 5 Vernard Hollins, who played from 2001-04, had 1,700. The career leader is Bill Edwards, who scored 2,303 from 1990-93. … While Love and Basile have been dominant in the post, Nagy said Holden actually is more efficient on the blocks than either of those two. That’s why the Raiders have the top three field-goal shooters in the league: Basile 63.9%, Holden 57.4 and Love 55.7.
Well-rounded: The Raiders are showing up among the national leaders in a multitude of stats: 9th in scoring margin (16.8), 10th in rebound margin (plus-9.8), 10th in defensive field goal percentage (38.7), 14th in offensive efficiency (1.056 points per possession) and 15th in defensive efficiency (.883).
“We focus on the defensive and rebounding portion of it. I love those stats,” Nagy said. “The reason the scoring margin is so high is because we’re good on defense and good on offense, which makes that automatic.
“Those are all great stats. They’ve gotten us to this point. Now, it has to continue. Now is when it really needs to show up.”
About UIC: The Flames, who have lost three straight games, were picked fifth in the preseason poll. They’re 248th out of 347 Division I teams in the NET rankings, far below No. 61 Wright State. … Braelen Bridges had a team-high 17 points off the bench in a two-point loss at Northern Kentucky on Saturday. The 6-10 junior forward is only playing 21.1 minutes per game, but he’s averaging 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 63.2% from the field. ... Kirk is 13th in the country in assists at 6.2 per game.
Getting the axe: The firing of fifth-year UIC coach Steve McClain was a surprise. The team was 5-25 the year before he arrived, and he went 71-68 in his last four seasons. The Flames beat IUPUI, Youngstown State and top-seeded Wright State in the league tourney last season and were one win away from an NCAA bid, but they lost in the finals to Northern Kentucky. He’s now an assistant at Georgia.
Next game: After playing at UIC at 8 p.m. Saturday, the Raiders host Milwaukee at 7 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.